‘Founders Day’ celebration welcomes family participation, in Lents

Take a look, and see how generations of Lents Neighborhood volunteers pitched in to keep this historic tradition going …

The lively music of The New Iberians Zydeco Blues Band welcomes neighbors to the 2013 edition of Lents Founders Day.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Lents is one of Portland’s oldest neighborhoods – originally located well east of town, out in the country – when the City of Portland annexed it more than a century ago.

One day in August each year, the Lents neighborhood in outer East Portland honors its founder, Oliver P. Lent.

This year, “Lents Founder’s Day” was held on August 18 in Lents Park.

This year’s volunteer organizers – Clarice Keating, Kendra Kearney, and CM Hall – are all smiles, as people start coming in for the fun.

“We’re celebrating the family that founded this community, and the people who came into the community ever since then,” said this year’s volunteer organizer Clarice Keating. She’s also the treasurer of the Lents Neighborhood Association.

“More than anything, Lents Founders Day creates a sense of community, bonding and pride in the area,” Keating told East Portland News. “Neighbors get out, meet each other, and have a good time.”

Harper Paramchuk and past event organizer Becca Stavenjord get ready for the Grand March promenade around the park.

The band plays a lively tune as the kids and their parents dance, march, and walk during the Grand March promenade.

A newly-minted member of the Portland Rose Festival Character Clown Corps, volunteer “Brown Clown” (Nicole McKinney), gets ready to twist balloons for guests.

Activities this year included face-painting, activities in an old-time village, dog tricks, and when the sun had set, a showing of the Walt Disney film 101 Dalmatians – a Portland Parks & Recreation “Movies in the Park” event.

Although she has a busy schedule, Keating said she spearheaded the event this year because it is important. “I feel like I want the children to have a fun day with their family – particularly those who come from families where their parents work multiple jobs. And many other families don’t have much money to go out and have fun. This gives our neighbors an entertaining – and free – weekend activity!

Volunteers Robert Shields and Janice Shields are hot doggin’ it – serving up weenies, once again generously supplied by the New Copper Penny Restaurant and Night Club.

Marcus Rivera pans for “gold” at the Pioneer Living exhibit.

Lents neighborhood historian Ray Hites relaxes for a moment with his mom, Elena Hites, after setting up the Lents History exhibit.

“And, at the same time,” Keating continued, “it helps newcomers to the area learn more about the rich history of our neighborhood. It’s important to pass this information, and the spirit of community, down to the next generation.”

It looked as if she succeeded in her mission, on this particular fine, sunny Saturday afternoon.

> On our Front Page: Stevi Marthaller learns how laundry was done, the old fashioned way.

© 2013 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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